The brothers Gracchi were part of an elite family in Roman politics. Their grandfather was Scipio Africanus the Elder who had defeated Hannibal.
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus: C. 163-133 BC
Tiberius rose to prominance by support reforms that favored the common people of Rome. In order to get a reform bill passed, he bypassed the Senate and took the bill straight to the comitia tributa. After it was vetoed by the Tribune of the people, he again went to the comitia tributa and had them vote the Tribune out of office. He was elected Tribune himself in 133 BC and his forceful tactics at getting laws and reforms through made him very unpopular in the Senate. He could not be prosecuted while in office, so he ran for a second consecutive term as Tribune which was unprecedented. A number of Senators assassinated him on the steps of the Capitol in 133 BC.
Gaius Sempronius Gracchus: 158-121 BC
Gaius took over where his brother left off. He again supported populist reforms. In 123 BC he was elected Tribune and pushed through laws that benefitted all classes except the Senate. Considering his brother's fate, he was amazingly reelected the next year with no opposition. When he ran for a third consecutive term, the Senate put forward a populist candidate and successfully defeated him. His supporters staged an armed riot to protest the defeat, which was all the opposition needed to violently end the riot by killing Gaius and some three thousand of his followers.
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